God’s spiritual regeneration imparts a sense of wholeness, a spiritual vibrancy that spills over into every area of life, from the way we butter bread to the way we comfort grieving family members.
But we’re also human beings, and we tend toward living fractured lives with a sense of legalistic dread that spills over into every action, from the way we pray before every meal to the way we behave differently at church as opposed to at home.
The less time I spend immersing myself in prayer and Scripture reading, the more I sense the cracks re-develop in the way I view life.
Business crowds out Godliness, and my automatic expression of love for God dims toward religious repetition. Worship cools from exuberant exaltation to un-felt monotonous monk chants in a corner. Continue Reading
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
Picture this: a stranger asks, “Are you a Christian?”
A simple “yes” or “no” is cheating. So what is it? Do you know God intimately enough to be compelled to passionately communicate your love for him? Continue Reading
We spend so much of our lives accomplishing goals.
Graduate middle school, high school, college. Land a high-paying entry-level job and work your way up the ladder. Go to church each Sunday, our weekly spiritual shot in the arm. Sing hymns, make it through announcements, pay attention to the sermon, go home feeling encouraged and ready for another week of taking care of business.
Maybe you wouldn’t feel too bad about the thought of ending up at the pearly gates after such a life. But according to Scripture, we’d be in danger of hearing God say he never knew us.
God doesn’t want converts to Christianity.
June 1, 2017 father's day
Sometimes life sucker-punches you, and you lose a tooth or two.
I’ve wavered back and forth on whether or not I should write this post for a number of reasons. But I think, in the end, that to not admit we’re broken is akin to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. We’re humans, each and every last one of us. And someday (sooner rather than later), our bodies will betray us.
Now that I have that out of the way. . .
My brother has been suffering for quite some time under some fairly severe psychological pressures. None of us knew how severe until a few weeks ago, when we found him in his apartment. He’d suffered a full-blown psychotic break that landed in the ER, then a locked hospital ward for the past 17 days. Continue Reading
April 17, 2017 easter, secret sin
There are more teachers in this world than I can count, all of whom know more than me.
There are countless men and women in this world, all of whom are stronger than me.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in this world to shame the strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27.
I write this letter openly admitting that I’ve spent the majority of my short life committing the secret sin that’s destroying our world.
The trouble is, I’m no different from you.
Because you’ve done the same. Only you don’t know it.
Neither of us ever really think much of it. And that’s exactly what makes it so insidious, so deadly.
You may not remember what I’m about to share with you, but you were there, 2,000 years ago. And I was there with you. I sat on his left. You on his right. A hammer in each of our hands. A nail in both of his. Continue Reading
April 4, 2017 god made dirt
I had an epiphany the other day that I believe has the power to change America. In fact, I think it’s such a powerful truth that if we truly understood its implications, the ripple effects would blast out over the entire planet, rocking the nations and impacting future generations for an indefinite sum of years.
So. . . you ready for it?
God made dirt.
Can you believe it? I almost couldn’t.
Because when we look at Christian subculture in America, it seems we hold the belief that God only made the Bible. Likewise, we seem to believe that Christians should not create or do anything that doesn’t have some direct correlation to the Bible, or going to church, or “accepting Jesus.” Continue Reading
The first thing modern Christians need to realize is that we no longer live in the world the apostles lived in, where living out your Christianity meant discipling other people, living in community, loving others, and making sure to serve the needs of the poor and afflicted.
You might ask, “Why? Why are these things now irrelevant?”
Because social media has changed EVERYTHING. Now, our primary goal is to show people how spiritual we are on social media. Because how else will people know about Christianity? And how could they ever convert unless they know exactly what we Christians believe about all their sin? Continue Reading
March 21, 2017 compassion, Love, truth
Western thought is pervaded by the idea that truth is the greatest of virtues. As if God were a cosmic computer testing our exam sheets and counting up the checks and crosses. As if we could look at the next person’s score sheet and tell whether or not they’ll receive a passing grade.
There’s an inherent arrogance in the belief that we can totally understand God. Because the truth is that God is an eternal mystery. Immutable. Knowable, yet transcendent.
He’s much too large to fit in our skulls. Much too powerful to be impacted by what we believe him to be. Continue Reading
March 9, 2017 happy ending
I’m always disappointed when writers manipulate stories to serve their agendas rather than give their audience the most authentic entertainment. Stories are powerful because they contain all the ingredients necessary for emotional manipulation. However, the core purpose of story is not to manipulate, but to communicate truth.
Sometimes this can be an emotional truth—such as letting you feel the depth of sorrow a particular character feels when they lose a loved one. Other times an intellectual or spiritual truth—such as how little we understand of the universe, or how sometimes God allows pain to draw us closer to him.
But stories are the most powerful, the most profound, when they are internally consistent. When authors manipulate a story to serve an agenda, they are damaging the story’s internal consistency in favor of manipulating the audience to see something from a perspective that the story itself wouldn’t normally show.
Example: In the children’s animated series, The Legend of Korra, the very last scene of the series was wasted on Continue Reading
I can see the 60-year old church-goers already lighting their torches and brandishing their pitchforks. Good. They should be upset. But not at me. And not at Harry Potter, either.
“Magic is the use of rituals, symbols, actions, gestures, and language with the aim of exploiting supernatural forces.” Furthermore, White Magic is defined as “magic used for good or selfless purposes.”
“How could Christians be accused of practicing White Magic?”
I’m glad you asked. Or maybe I did. Doesn’t matter.
The key here is the phrase, “with the aim of exploiting supernatural forces.” Because the usage of “rituals, symbols, actions, gestures, and language” can mean prayer, the point here is that Continue Reading